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Celebrating the Death of the Enemy

Posted in Uncategorized by sndybeech on May 7, 2011

Perhaps it was because Passover was so recent and these words had been read aloud at my seder that I reacted so strongly to the celebrations of our assassination of Osama Bin Laden:

It is told in the Commentaries that while the Egyptians were drowning in the Red Sea, having sought in vain to recapture the Israelites, the angels broke into songs of joy. God turned to them in anger and reproached them: “How can you sing while My children are drowning?”

I’ve been an active opponent of capital punishment since I moved to Oregon in the middle of the successful campaign to get rid of it here (since rescinded) in 1963. It is not deterrent, it costs more than life without parole, mistakes cannot be fixed…I’m sure there are other arguments as well in addition to the irony of killing a person to punish for killing.

But, this was different, no? This is the man responsible for the deaths of almost 3000 Americans! And how many people have we now killed in the name of those 3000?

Execution without trial.

The constitution has become so precious to so many in recent years yet there seems to be no problem with ignoring it whenever it is convenient, whenever it gets in the way of emotion.

I heard someone (unfortunately my attempt to find out who failed) say on Flashpoints (great KPFA program played on KBOO some mornings) that since 9/11 every extraordinary measures we have taken to deal with some aspect of it then becomes the norm. Think about it. Rendition, Abu Ghraib, targeted assassination, even taking off our shoes at airports…Is this the America we want? And yet we celebrate.